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Medieval English Lit week 7

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Medieval English Lit week 7

  1. 1. The Man of Law’s Tale Medieval English Literature
  2. 2. The Canterbury Tales• ca.1370-1400• Geoffrey Chaucer (big 3)• Middle English• Frame tale: “nine and twenty” pilgrims • 120 Stories in total (?)• General Prologue and Pilgrims
  3. 3. Other important characters• Wife of Bath• Man of Law• Host• Knight• Miller• Reeve
  4. 4. Chaucer the Pilgrim• General Prologue: Narrator’s Voice• Who is he?• Orality versus literacy
  5. 5. The Man of LawA SERGEANT OF THE LAWE, war and wys,That often hadde been at the Parvys,Ther was also, ful riche of excellence.Discreet he was and of greet reverence;He semed swich, his wordes weren so wise.Justice he was ful often in Assise,By patente and by pleyn commissioun:For his science and for his heigh renoun.Of fees and robes hadde he many oon;So greet a purchasour was nowher noon.Al was fee symple to hym in effect,His purchasyng myghte nat been infect.
  6. 6. Nowher so bisy a man as he ther nas,And yet he semed bisier than he was.In termes hadde he caas and doomes alleThat from the tyme of kyng William were falle;Ther-to he koude endite and make a thyng,Ther koude no wight pynchen at his writyng;And every statut coude he pleyn by rote.He rood but hoomly in a medlee cote.Girt with a ceint of silk with barres smale;Of his array telle I no lenger tale.Full tale at: http://www.luminarium.org/medlit/manoflaw.htm
  7. 7. Man of Law’s Tale• Outline: Constance, Roman emperor’s daughter• Syrian merchants tell Syrian sultan of her beauty• Sultan lusts after her, Christens so he can marry her• Emperor assents, Constance weeps
  8. 8. Man of Law’s Tale• Constance arrives in Syria• Sultan and all of Constance’s company are butchered• Constance survives as sole Christian• Constance and the rudderless boat• Arrives in pagan Northumberland
  9. 9. Man of Law’s Tale• Constance converts castle warden and wife secretly to Christianity; she stays with them• Knight is tempted by Satan; falls in love with Constance; she rebukes• As revenge, he kills warden and frames Constance• Miracle kills knight; Constance’s innocent; Northumberland converts to Christianity
  10. 10. Man of Law’s Tale• After miracle, King of Northumberland marries Constance• King’s mother angry at this; why?• Constance gives birth to boy, news sent to King• Letter to king is switched by king’s mother; he is told the baby is foul and wicked
  11. 11. Man of Law’s Tale• King says he loves king regardless• Letter is switched with another to order exile of Constance and child; why?• Constance exiled;Virgin Mary helps them• King returns home and murders mother for treachery; goes to Rome for penance• Roman emperor fighting in Syria
  12. 12. Man of Law’s Tale• Constance found by Roman senator and taken to Rome• Constance and child go to Roman feast where Northumberland king is• Child sees king, family reunited• Constance sees emperor, reunited too
  13. 13. Sources of the story• England-Rome relationship• Constance-legends• Medieval romance
  14. 14. Epilogue to the Story• Host enjoys story• Parson’s repuke• Jankin (priests)• Lollards• Shipman’s “clynking” story

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